Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Legal Community’s Red Mass To Be Celebrated Oct. 4

Published September 27, 2012

Prayers for public leaders and the legal community will be offered at the annual Red Mass.

The Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 11 a.m. at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 353 Peachtree St.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will be the principal celebrant and homilist of this year’s Mass.

Catholics, other Christians and non-Christians of all faiths are invited to seek blessings for the administration of justice for all citizens.

Judges, attorneys and other public officials who work in the administration of justice, and canon lawyers and judges who serve in the Metropolitan Court of the Archdiocese of Atlanta are invited to attend.

The annual event is sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society, an association of Catholic lawyers in the community.

Following Mass, the society will honor the recipients of the St. Thomas More Award at a luncheon at the Capital City Club. The award is presented annually to judges or lawyers to recognize specific actions showing a commitment to the principles of justice and humanity, especially in difficult circumstances. This award is given without regard to the recipients’ political or religious affiliations.

This year, the St. Thomas More Society is recognizing Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein; attorney Patrick J. Rice, of Hull Barrett, Augusta; retired attorney H. Lane Dennard, of King & Spalding, Atlanta; and attorney Patrick C. DiCarlo, of Alston & Bird, Atlanta.

The Red Mass tradition began more than 750 years ago in Europe. Its name refers to the scarlet robes of the judges who attended the Mass centuries ago, as well as the color of the vestments worn by those celebrating the Mass.

The first recorded Red Mass celebration in the United States was in 1928 at St. Andrew Catholic Church in New York City. Since then, the Red Mass has been celebrated in an increasing number of cities across the country. Since 1995, Atlanta’s St. Thomas More Society has sponsored the Red Mass. It is now a regular event on Atlanta’s legal calendar.

The Washington, D.C., Red Mass has been especially noteworthy since that city’s celebration began in 1953. The president of the United States, members of the United States Supreme Court, judges, Cabinet officials, members of Congress, and diplomats customarily attend the annual Red Mass in Washington, D.C., on the Sunday before the opening of the Supreme Court’s new October term.